Studies have demonstrated that nursing shortages lead to accelerated international nurse recruitment. Little attention has been directed towards how regulatory policy changes within a country can impact nurse recruitment and retention. In December 2011, Canada’s nursing regulatory bodies announced a new partnership agreement for the registered nurse (RN) entry exam, moving away from the Canadian examination used since 1970, to the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) offered by the United States (US) licensing body, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) in 2015. Most Canadian provinces/territories have utilized the same licensing exam, the Canadian Registered Nurse Examination (CRNE), developed by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and managed by CNA’s testing company as a paper and pencil exam offered three times a year. Canadian regulatory bodies were interested in a more readily accessible computer adaptive examination that is regarded as psychometrically sound and legally defensible, and following their most recent request for proposals for an exam provider for Canada, eventually selected the NCSBN’s NCLEX RN.
One concern that has emerged in Canada as a result of this change is that this may make it easier for Canada’s nurses to migrate to the US in the future. Canadian nurses have been moving to the US for work for many years yet the potential impact of this policy change on facilitating nurse mobility to the US is not yet known. This CIHR meeting grant led by McGillis Hall and colleagues brings together a team comprised of researchers, knowledge-users and stakeholders for a planning meeting in the spring in Toronto to work on prioritizing the issues that need to be studied and identify a set of clear research questions that will be examined.